While Dad worked on the Niagara Power Project my favorite home away from home was at Uncle Bob and Aunt Ida’s. Uncle Bob worked as an ironworker. They lived at an intersection called Towers Corners east of Youngstown and just south of Lake Ontario. If their four children needed a babysitter myself or my sister Sharon would watch the kids and spend the night. Many of the people from the St Lawrence Seaway construction lived in the general area. On the weekends they would get together dancing and listening to country music or meet at someone’s home to play poker.
Food is a big part of my memories visiting with Uncle Bob and Aunt Ida at Towers Corners. The area was full of truck farms, orchards, and row crops. We would go into Mr. Towers’ tomato fields with a salt shaker and a rag. We would walk the rows looking for the perfect tomato. Each time we found a couple we sat, wiped them down with the rag, and ate them with a little sprinkle of salt. Nothing is as good as the perfect tomato picked off the vine and consumed at once. Sometimes we visited the watermelon and cantaloupe fields. It was much more difficult to find the perfect melon. It was also difficult to eat it all once you found it. We never wasted any food or took more than we could eat.
A large peach orchard was just outside their back yard. Aunt Ida always felt guilty about picking the peaches before Mr Tower gave her permission. I would walk her around with a flashlight after dark looking for that perfect peach. Aunt Ida was sure she’d go to jail if we got caught. She heard every little noise and hunkered down every time a car passed on the road. We ate some good peaches though.
Uncle Bob loved to eat when they came home from a night of dancing or poker. Aunt Ida was just the opposite and just looked forward to kicking back a few minutes and getting to bed. She wasn’t into cooking and eating at one o’clock in the morning. Uncle Bob was normally wound up, singing, and maybe a little tipsy. We would fire up the broiler, throw on a steak apiece, and cook them perfectly. Steak, a little seasoning, fresh bread, and real butter. The perfect middle of the night meal. Made you sleep good too.
The fields provided many great day time feeds………….but it took the broiler to make a perfect night.